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New Zealand Data and Information Management Principles

On 8 August 2011 government approved new principles for managing the data and information it holds. These replace the 1997 Policy Framework for Government held Information.

Cabinet Minute CAB Min (11) 29/12
 [PDF 177 KB]

They have been developed to ensure high quality management of the information the government holds on behalf of the public. While new language is used, the enduring concepts of the 1997 framework, in particular, quality, ownership, stewardship and custodianship, are retained." In summary, government data and information should be open, readily available, well managed, reasonably priced and re-usable unless there are necessary reasons for its protection. Personal and classified information will remain protected. Government data and information should also be trusted and authoritative.

Principles for managing data and information held by the New Zealand Government

Principle: open

Data and information held by government should be open for public access unless grounds for refusal or limitations exist under the Official Information Act or other government policy. In such cases they should be protected.

Principle: protected

Personal, confidential and classified data and information are protected.

Principle: readily available

Open data and information are released proactively and without discrimination. They are discoverable and accessible and released online.

Principle: trusted and authoritative

Data and information support the purposes for which they were collected and are accurate, relevant, timely, consistent and without bias in that context. Where possible there is an identified authoritative single source.

Principle: well managed

Data and information held and owned by government:

  • effectively belong to the New Zealand public
  • are a core strategic asset held by government as a steward on behalf of the public; and
  • should only be collected or generated for specified public policy, operational business, or legislative purposes.

Agencies are stewards of government-held data and information and must provide and require good practices which manage the data and information over their life-cycle, including catering for technological obsolescence and long-term preservation and access. Good practices also include collaborating with other agencies and the public, facilitating access, strengthening awareness, and supporting international cooperation.

Agency custodians must implement these practices on a day-to-day basis.

Principle: reasonably priced

Use and re-use of government held data and information is expected to be free. Charging for access is discouraged.

Pricing to cover the costs of dissemination is only appropriate where it can be clearly demonstrated that this pricing will not act as a barrier to the use or re-use of the data. If a charge is applied for access to data, it should be transparent, consistent, reasonable and the same cost to all requestors.

Principle: reusable

Data and information released can be discovered, shared, used and re-used over time and through technology change. Copyright works are licensed for re-use and open access to and re-use of non-copyright materials is enabled, in accordance with the New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing framework.

Data and information are released:

  • at source, with the highest possible level of granularity
  • in re-usable, machine-readable format
  • with appropriate metadata; and
  • in aggregate or modified forms if they cannot be released in their original state.

Data and information released in proprietary formats are also released in open, non-proprietary formats.

Digital rights technologies are not imposed on materials made available for re-use.

Mapping from the 1997 Policy Framework for Government Held Information to the 2011 Principles for Managing Data and Information held by the New Zealand Government

New principle Old Policy framework for government held information principle



Protected Privacy
Readily available Availability
Trusted and authoritative Quality
Well managed





Reasonably priced Pricing
Reusable Copyright

Complementary documents

The principles reflect New Zealand legislation and international obligations. They are complemented by the following current domain strategies, principles and codes of practice.


Public Records Act 2005

Copyright Act 1994

Privacy Act 1993

Official Information Act 1982

Statistics Act 1975

Information strategies

Cyber Security Strategy

Digital Content Strategy

Digital Continuity Action Plan

Digital Strategy 2.0

National Health IT Plan

New Zealand Geospatial Strategy

Complementary principles

New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing framework (NZGOAL)

Principles and Protocols for Producers of Tier 1 Statistics [PDF]

United Nations Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics

Privacy principles and codes of practice

Credit Reporting Privacy Code

Health Information Privacy Code

Information Privacy Principles

Justice Sector Unique Identifier Code

Superannuation Schemes Unique Identifier Code

Telecommunications Information Privacy Code

Contact us

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Content last reviewed 11 August 2021